Jan Splaining: What is two-step flow theory? – MEDIA LITERACY
The theory of flows in two stages. It’s the idea that information goes through two stages before influencing people. It ranges from mass media to opinion leaders, to people engaged with the media who interpret it and transmit it to the general population. Some opinion leaders are obvious. They are the ones who are paid to shout. Wait a minute!
Others are less obvious, but more powerful. You see, the two-step flow theory was developed long before social media, before television, really in the 1940s. Researchers who looked at the US election found that most voters got their information from it. ‘other people who read articles about the candidates in newspapers, rather than directly from the newspapers themselves. They concluded that personal contact influences voting behavior more than the media.
Now the media has changed a lot, but not this influence. Here’s a more recent experiment in which researchers sent political messages about the upcoming parliamentary elections to 61 million Facebook users and found that close friends who shared the message wielded four times the influence over behavior change. than the message itself.
If you share information you are a very powerful thought leader, you have more influence than you think. Do you want to add to a world where fake news spreads? Because people trust their friends too much. If you want to stop the spread of misinformation, make sure what you post and what you consume, especially from family and friends, is the real deal.